My son, César Sampson, send me the video below of himself performing the Pilates Stomach Series, and asked me if I would like to comment on it for Facebook.
Well, after looking at it, I thought … does he know what he is asking me? … he is either a true warrior or a true masochist! Also, he didn’t even want to review my findings. So, thumbs up for my son, César, and his remarkably altruistic gesture.
Maybe what he had in mind and wanted to remind us of, was this quote by an African master teacher “Sometimes it is better to expose ourselves to the will of others than to impose ourselves on our self-will.”
Howsoever … let’s get started. As Pilates-afficionados know, the Pilates Stomach Series consists of 5 exercises. So, to not overwhelm you with the in-depth analyses of all 5 exercises at once, I decided to post one exercise per week. If you have not read my analysis of the Single Leg Stretch, click here.
And here already my analysis of the second exercise of the Pilates Stomach Series – the Double Leg Stretch – performed by my son César.
See César’s video of the whole series right below. The Double Leg Stretch begins at 00:28;)
Pilates Stomach Series diminished
Pilates Double Leg Stretch – the Facts
Fundamental error: No neutral pelvic position. Because he does not establish a neutral pelvic position, the weight of his legs collapses onto his ribcage instead of being distributed between the floor (imprinting), the iliopsoas (leg control) and the DMCS (pelvic stabilization).
Aftereffect of fundamental error: Because there is no neutral pelvic position, the extension of the arms and legs away from the midline of the body is not propelled by the work of the DMCS (powerhouse) and Iliopsoas. Therefore, the torso, arms, pelvis and legs fail to oppose one another, which causes a less dynamic extension of the arms and legs (arms and legs are not fully extended) instead of an elevated extension of the arms and legs. In this case, the chest is overriding the work of the DMCS and the legs are twice as heavy as the torso; instead of the contrary.
Furthermore, in this example, fitting a breathing pattern to this exercise is difficult because the effort to do the exercise will be placed on the diaphragm instead of the correct posture and governing principles of the Pilates method.
The bottom line:
Gravity is not being opposed harmoniously by the work of the DMCS and shoulder girdle stabilizers.
For comparison, check the video below, in which I do the Pilates Powerhouse Series.
The Double Leg Stretch starts at 00:22 – check it out;)
Stomach Series enhanced
And last but definitely not least, let us bring some awareness into my analysis …
Awareness vs. Right-Wrong
The analysis of my son’s interpretation of the Pilates Stomach Series is not based on a right-wrong-perspective but from the point of view of awareness and functionality.
By this I mean
1. how many of the errors mentioned is my son aware of when doing the exercises and
2. can he transfer the position he is currently in, into another position? For example, from the Pilates Double Leg Stretch to the Pilates Double Side Leg Lift without any modification, compensation or adjustment.
Seen from a subjective point of view who is to say, that the way my son is performing the Pilates Stomach Series is wrong? For sure, there are many people, inside and outside the Pilates community, who claim to “feel good” while doing it this way, and there are even some people who would say their back problem is much better since then.
This may well be the case but are they aware of how they are doing these exercises. Could they do them another way if they chose to do so? Could you?
See, awareness (aka will) and functionality are a matter of having a choice, but habit (aka self-will) and force are a matter of “feeling”. So, to my son; correcting the errors mentioned, will give him more choice in his movements; the way he is doing them in the video, gives him less choice.
I close my case for today. See you next week when I analyze my son doing the Pilates Single Straight Leg Stretch.
Check it & fly with it!
Your honourebel Samu Rii
We would love to hear any thoughts and comments from you. How do you “feel” about my analysis? We would love to hear from you how you go about changing habits into awareness.
As always, if you find our post useful and would like to share it with someone, we’d be forever grateful!